I am what people would refer to as a “crunchy mom” or “granola mom” or just plain old “hippie.” I love to make my own hand made toys and clothing, to garden, to use every part of the plant; I eat as organic as I can. I cloth diapered my daughter and handmade her baby food and I love to make my own body products, and use paperless towels and home made household cleaners, and really, I could go on and on. So, a match was made in heaven when one of my regular clients handed my contact info to her neighbor Maria. Maria and her husband have an in-home apothecary where they make body products. As soon as I walked in, I was like a kid in a candy store.
Maria walked me through her stock of fine exotic oils, blooms, foliage, fruit and other ingredients harvested right from her own yard. She talked with passion about every product they make and what benefits each ingredient brings. I was able to see soaps in various stages of curing, touch and smell shaving bars, shampoo bars, healing balms and lip balms. As someone very into natural and hand crafted products, many of the ingredients and processes were familiar to me, but far more were new and exciting.
Maria took me around her garden showing me which plants she picked right there for products, what fruits had done well this season and which had fallen short. We talked about what we hoped to plant in our respective gardens for the coming season as we took her dog for a stroll around the neighborhood. She told me that they had started the business two years prior when traditional, mass marketed products weren’t suiting their needs and wielding good results.
In her process of creating quality items for her own family, she began to sell the items for others as well. I reveled in rich goat’s milk bars made with fine oils and topped with a delicate layer of calendula petals. I tried luxurious lip balms that went on smooth and worked for hours. The charcoal and birch tar bars have a smoky, masculine scent and rich, dark color with exfoliating granules. I tasted and smelled various oils, talked over the benefits of one ingredient over another, and even worked with Maria to design a custom hair oil for my daughter’s curly, ethnic hair.
Maria even formulated a custom deoderant recipe for me based on my skin sensitivities and fragrance preferences. She gave me four separate testers for me to use as trials, and fit the one that best suits me for a full-sized stick. The deoderants work wonderfully, and with so many benefits over mass produced varieties, without the harm.
We planned a day for me to return and shoot all of their products. Upon my return visit, I met both of their children and we photographed various items along with their star ingredients. We took boutique style outdoor shots along with more traditional shots on a white backdrop for product listing online and for print materials.
Would you be surprised if I told you I asked to be paid in product? Let’s face it, that’s essentially what would have happened anyway! I am in love with everything they produce and I knew that one way or another, I would be taking home the whole line. I delivered the images to them promptly and then shopped their workspace to my heart’s content. They’ve gained a devoted patron in me. Give them a look on their Facebook page and Etsy store.